Oklahoma Governor Seeks Disaster Aid for Flood Victims
Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Gov. Brad Henry is requesting federal disaster relief for Oklahoma County residents affected by flooding that left hundreds of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed.
Henry asked the government for individual disaster assistance on Wednesday. The request follows a survey by the state Department of Emergency Management that showed 221 homes were damaged by record rainfall on June 14.
Only two percent of the structures were insured through the National Flood Insurance Program.
If Henry's request is approved, Oklahomans with uninsured storm-related damage will be eligible for help for housing repairs or temporary housing.
"I feel like a little duck in a great big pond and even though it's minimal compared to what's going on in the rest of the world, it's ours. And when you have something like this happen to you it's devastating," said Cindy McWilliams.
Like the majority of her neighbors, McWilliams is without flood insurance. Unless a federal disaster declaration is made and help becomes available, she predicts she'll lose her home.
"Without FEMA's help and without coming in and doing something for us we're basically going to have to give the house back to the bank," McWilliams said.
While FEMA can provide shot-term help, the U.S. Small Business Administration also offers low-interest loans to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance and grants for necessary disaster expenses.
"If you apply and find out what you're eligible for find out what the terms are going to be then it's voluntary as to how much you take of the loan that's available," Kelton said.
Although little survived the flood for many, Cindy McWilliams is thankful a picture of her and her fiancé survived. They are getting married on Friday.
"Look forward to a happy day on Friday. Unfortunately when we get married it will always be associated with the flood," McWilliams said.
Her biggest concern besides the wedding right now is preventing mold. McWilliams is drying out her house on her own since she can't afford $9,000 for professionals.
There's no time frame for President Obama to make his decision on whether to provide disaster aid.